Monday, July 30, 2007

Role Models

I know that Mickey Mantle used to drink a bit and chase women and probably did other things less than complimentary to the image he represented. So, maybe the allegations and rumors surrounding some of todays sports heros should not upset me so much. They are, afterall, just human beings who just happen to be better at throwing, tackling, swinging, etc. than most.
Anyway, this latest cartoon - soon to appear on SillyBill.Com - pretty well wraps up my view of the subject.
Interesting how the visual impact of a cartoon seems to address the problem so well.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Gone To The Birds

Noted caricature artist, Bill Trantham - in an attempt to expand his use of colored pencils to genres other than just caricatures - has created an experimental series of fanciful bird drawings. Cuckoo Blue is but one example.
This, along with two other bird works, is being offered as signed and numbered prints (1000 limited) on his website, DrawVille.
They truly get "in your face" with color, yet give the appearance more of fine art rather than cartoons or illustrations.
Check out Mr. Trantham's other works and add comments here; your feedback is greatly appreciated.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Artistc Freedom

In recognition of all those who believe in and support artistic freedom of expression, has created this free Order of the Purple Star icon. Art Blast is proud to participate in this important campaign and to display this free icon in demonstration of our support. To obtain you free Purple Star icon, follow this link to DrawVille. Your participation is greatly appreciated.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Guy's Dream Car

Guy's Dream Car
by: Bill Trantham
The order for a custom car caricature drawing seemed, at first, unremarkable. It was anything but. In fact, interest in 1967 Shelby GT 500's got quite a boost from that Nicholas Cage movie, "Gone In 60 Seconds". The client even asked for the name, "Eleanor" to show in the drawing somewhere. It wasn't until further e-mail conversations that I learned how special this order would be.
The client was ordering the car drawing for a friend who was in the final stages of some virulent form of cancer and wasn't expected to be with us much longer. The inflicted man, Guy, was a serious car buff and was having an actual 1967 GT 500 restored to look like the car used in the movie. It had become quite evident that the restoration would never be completed in time.
This drawing was to be a kind of consolation gift; substituting for the real thing. Needless to say, I was adamant in my effort to make it worthy of the occassion. I've never worked so hard on a drawing in my life and still can't help feeling that it could've been better. I sent the final scanned image for approval and Guy's friend assured me that he would love it. I put the original in the mail, yesterday. I haven't slept well since. I asked that I me notified after Guy gets his gift so I will know, once and for all, if my work met his expectations; came even remotely close to his dream. I hope that Guy gets a cool place in Heaven where there are endless miles of beautiful blacktop roads and he can spend all enternity cruising the celestial highways in his perfectly restored, ultra-bitchin, 1967 Shelby GT 500 Mustang.
Bill Trantham

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Boomer Draws

Boomer Draws
by: Bill Trantham
I was surprised to hear that the term "baby boomer" officially refers to anyone born between 1945 and 1965. I resist this view, admitting to a bit of mild subcultural chauvinism. My personal limit for admittance into this dubious cliche is 1955. Don't ask me why; I simply feel that people nearer in age to my children than to me belong in their own generational club.
As an artist, I find that my work is influenced to a great degree by my "boomer" ties. This is particularly noticeable in the subject matter I choose to draw. It seems that nothing much that has happened in the world since about 1969 really touches me, rings my emotional bell. For instance; I recently drew two car caricatures for two different clients. One was of a late model Mustang and the other a 1957 Corvette. I did a fair rendition of the Mustang and the client was happy with his drawing. However, the drawing I did of the 'Vette was something extra special; it seemed to breathe! I truly believe that the Mustang, although technically sound, lacked the heart and soul that I had been able to draw into the little Corvette. This has happened often recently and I think I know why. Odd that a reference from another generation's movie, The Breakfast Club comes to mind as I ponder this. "When you grow up, your heart dies," said the reclusive dark-headed girl in the detention group. The others nodded in silent agreement. And, I have to admit, so did I. I fear that somewhere along the way my heart, too, has died, at least a little. And that the only way I can revive it is to focus on one or more of the visual icons of that earlier era and allow my fuzzy memories and suppressed emotions to guide my hands a bit. I find that the best art has a heart.
Bill Trantham is a retired mental health counselor working at home drawing caricatures via his website.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

LMAO Cartoon Feature

There is a nifty cartoon feature now available free to all from Silly Bill's Artistic Services. It's called "LMAO Cartoon Feature". It's a recurring monthly feature of original topical and political cartoons by Bill Trantham. This is the current cartoon. LMAO is designed to be a free feature to anyone liking a cartoon showing on their website or blog. To start receiving this free monthly feature, simply copy and paste the large image below onto your web page:

Once the cartoon is active on your site, the image will automatically change monthly. The feature is topical, but will not contain any objectional content. Please give it a try.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Crazy Larry

Silly Bill's resident weirdo artist, Crazy Larry is now stable on his medications and drawing biker graphics. These original biker creations are available as 8.5x11 signed prints for only $9.95 plus s/h or as jpg digitals e-mailed direct for a mere $7.00.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Custom Bike Caricatures

Art Blast is proud to announce the availability of Custom Bike Caricatures by Bill Trantham. Working from your photos, Bill creates high-quality works of caricature art like this. They are offered in sizes 8.5x11 to 18x24. Prices begin at around $49.95. For more information or to request a quote, contact us at:

Friday, July 6, 2007

Caricatures For All Occasions

Working in conjunction with Silly Bill's Artistic Services, Art Blast offers access to custom caricature drawings, illustrations, cartoons, logos and prints. For a quote on a custom caricature drawing or other Art Blast art project, contact us at:

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Cars With Character

I was very reluctant at first to attempt doing car caricatures.
It seemed clear when drawing people that there was nearly always some distinguishing feature to help identify the subject. I was not as confident in my approach to cars.
It took me awhile to loosen up and allow the necessary distortions of form to happen. I kept wanting to measure this and that and resisted deliberate exaggerations. The differences in what you see and what you feel, in art, can be very subtle but, are extremely important. I found that drawing a fender, for example, could depend as much on the personality of the fender as it did on the precise geometric proportions.
I learned that things, as well as people, have character; personalities, that one 1957 Corvette can look unique to all other 1957 Corvettes simply by drawing that personality in.
Sounds crazy, huh?
If I asked you to draw me a Corvette, you immediately begin to picture the familiar lines in your mind; a psychic photograph of every Corvette you're ever seen. However, If I asked you to draw me a Corvette that is high-spirited, spunky, cocky, yet happy and inviting, you begin to see that car in relation to people you've know. You are required to anthropomorphize the Corvette into someone with the personality and temperament requested. The difference between a photograph of that car and the caricaturization of that car is dependent on how successful you've been at giving it a personality.
It seems that drawing caricatures of things departs very little from drawing caricatures of people.
Check out the spunky, cocky, happy 1957 Vette I drew. Fun, huh?

The Fine Art of Mediocrity

The Fine Art of Mediocrityby: Bill Trantham
Traditionally, an artist is expected to wait to be "discovered" before he or she is able to earn any real money. And, that process dictates that one drag their portfolio from gallery to gallery, hoping to land a "showing"; have their work displayed in said gallery so an elite group of anal-retentive patrons with hefty checkbooks can decide whether or not one's work is good enough for the rest of the world to see. Amazing, huh? I gave this a shot. I had a few showings and even sold a few paintings. I even got published a time or two and figured that that was about as good as it was ever going to get, that "being discovered" or "arriving" in the art world was never going to happen for me. I would never be another Andy Warhol or Jackson Pollock! I was quite depressed for a time, then finally realized that most artists in the world were probably never going to be great; another Warhol or Pollock. I also realized that "greatness" is a very illusive concept that is often defined as much by luck as it is by true talent. The belief that sustained me was that the average person does not have to recognize greatness, they only have to know what they like. And, I knew that if people like something, they will buy that something regardless. The trick, then, was to bypass the art establishment and take it direct to the people; let them decide. For the past three years, I have been offering my less-than-great artistic services to the average person via the internet. I am proud to say that I have not had to suffer through another "showing" in all that time and that I am making a comfortable living just being myself; mediocre. I provide "cute" little drawings that will never hang anywhere more prominent than the wall of Joe Blow's den. Bill Trantham is a retired mental health counselor who now works at home drawing caricatures from photos via the internet.